Just Writing Today at Grub Street Writing Conference

The weekend’s focus on social media platforms and the need to tweet burned me out this weekend, and so I focused on the good stuff today: writing. I tried to follow Mitali Perkins’ advice (Sense of Place in the Novel) in using specific nouns and verbs in a scene:

The patio was desolate – all of the building’s plush chaise lounges and teak tables still stacked away for the hurricane. My hands were sticky on the railing, the cedar trees huddled in the corner like scared kids. 20140401_153427The police sirens were more distant now, but the acrid smell of diesel fumes was still there. I dug the ball of my foot into the wood, squishing out the thick brown water and shredded brown leaves.

I was then inspired to write a character description in another class: Val is quick to smile, comically graphic, her whole face stretched out, eyes gone tiny, all teeth, stunning at first, her entire being revealed as a wonder-eyed girl, but arch and sad, needing to be loved and knowing how this was how to do it. 20140504_021420She wore little girl jeans, stone washed, and tucked her hands in her pockets, her thumbs out, leaning back, her pelvis girlishly out. She was adorable. And she knew it.

The weekend closed with the amusing and profound words of Walter Mosely: “Writers learn to be ignored and then envied. I turn on the computer in the morning. After that, everything is magic. Writing is my soul.” 20140504_130627Finally, in answer to a question about what it was like to grow up with a Jewish mother and black father, he responded, “White people have to learn to stop being white. None of us are the same.” As simple as that.

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